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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street: Oct. 14

2. MagnaChip's Shopping Spree

Will the folks at MagnaChip (MX - Get Report) make up their minds already? Do they want to be a public company or not?

The South Korean semiconductor company, which launched its IPO this past Spring, announced a stock repurchase program of up to $35 million on Tuesday, sending the shares up 6% to $6.56. According to the company, the buyback will be funded with cash beginning Oct. 27 and the authorization will last for a year, although MagnaChip won't specify a minimum number of shares to be bought back. The company also said its subsidiary repurchased $11.3 million in outstanding 10.5% senior notes due 2018.

Sang Park, MagnaChip Chairman and CEO, commented on his stock shopping spree saying, "We believe the share repurchase program and bond repurchase we are announcing today represent an effective use of our cash and demonstrate the confidence we have in MagnaChip's financial strength."

Or it could represent that fact that Sang has absolutely no idea how to grow his company in this crummy market, so after years of desperately trying to sell his shares, his only hope is to buy them back.

And we aren't kidding when we say years. It's taken these guys forever to get their shares into public hands.

MagnaChip first filed for an IPO back in 2007, seeking to raise $575 million, but the company was forced to yank the offering due to unfavorable market conditions. MagnaChip's public debut was pushed back again in June 2009 when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.

Eventually, the chip maker was bought out by Avenue Capital Group and a few other private equity investors. In March of 2010, MagnaChip filed with the SEC to raise up to $250 million in an IPO, before pricing it more modestly at $130 million in June 2010. Unfortunately, the June IPO was also abandoned due to "adverse market conditions."

Finally, this past March, those big-hitting funds reaped their rewards when MagnaChip made its debut. The investing group sold 8.55 million shares when MagnaChip priced its IPO at $14, below the proposed range of $15 to $17. The company itself sold less than a million shares, barely benefiting from the $133 million raised in the offering.

Oh yeah, the stock popped a penny on its first day out of the box, finishing at $14.01. Yep, all that trouble for a single cent. Big freaking whoop!

Okay, to be fair, the stock's less than stellar debut can be attributed to the Japanese earthquake, which hit that very day, a tragedy that leveled the prices of a number of semiconductor manufacturers. That said, it's hard to excuse the stock's behavior since its coming out party, down more than 50%.

At last check the company has a public float of 16 million out of 39 million total shares outstanding. If the company is buying back stock at its current market value, then we say it may as well just keep on buying until there are no shares left for the investing public. Then maybe the stock can pop two cents on MagnaChip's next IPO.

However many years from now that may be.
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